Lush forested hills and crystal clear lakes cowl Vorarlberg, the westernmost area of Austria alongside the Switzerland border. Right here you’ll find cities and cities which are directly medieval and fashionable: sustainable inexperienced roofs overlook centuries-old clocktowers, cobblestone streets and fashionable structure stay in concord alongside fairytale-esque castles. And past the aesthetic enchantment, you’ll discover a charming tradition with a slower lifestyle, scrumptious regional specialties, and fantastic individuals who can’t wait to point out you what makes their residence so particular.
Whilst you might not have heard a lot about Vorarlberg or the charming cities and cities which are the center of this area, you’ll be able to anticipate finding loads of historical past, artwork, tradition, pleasant locals, and unimaginable meals. Though this area is completely under-discovered by most vacationers, right here’s why Vorarlberg is Austria’s greatest stored secret!
Psst: Planning a go to to Austria? Try a few of our different posts that will help you plan your journey!
However this yr, Lia spoke on the convention just about (as a result of she was knocked up and tremendous nauseous), whereas I, Richie Goff—the Editor-in-Chief of Practical Wanderlust—went in her place! Speak about a dream job, proper??
Reality be informed, once I heard I’d be going to Vorarlberg, Austria I used to be like… “the place?” However although I solely had a number of weeks to organize, I knew I’d be consuming heavenly cheese (so much delicious cheese!) and wandering round villages a lot older than something I used to be going to seek out in my hometown of Louisville, Kentucky.
Quick ahead three weeks and I discovered myself amongst flower markets on cobblestone streets, hanging out on mountains with different journey bloggers, and having the time of my life.
I didn’t understand Austria had magic behind each flip and nook, ya’ll!
Every little thing about my journey to Vorarlberg stunned me, and never simply because I didn’t even have time to do any preparation or analysis earlier than I packed my baggage and left (in my protection, your entire journey was absolutely and expertly deliberate by the fantastic Go to Vorarlberg tourism board).
Like, I didn’t know that Vorarlberg’s capital is Bregenz, which sits on a transparent blue, 207-square-mile lake that additionally borders Germany and Switzerland and offers consuming water for 5 million individuals.
Or that there are Umgang Bregenzerwald, aka “Village Walks”, round 13 native villages the place you’ll be able to find out about native historical past and tradition by strolling round and peering into rust-colored metal columns that dispense attention-grabbing native tibits and info.
I returned from Vorarlberg the place I frolicked in Mellau, Feldkirch, Dornbirn, and Bregenz with roughly a zillion pictures, and located myself overwhelmed by the duty of paring down my experiences into our traditional 10-15 pictures.
So I … er, procrastinated for about 3 months… after which started working. And I ended up with so many gorgeous, colourful, vibrant pictures of lovely Vorarlberg that I made a decision to throw all of them into one publish. You’re welcome.
Vorarlberg Journey Ideas & FAQ’s
Let’s begin with a number of of the necessary issues to find out about visiting the Vorarlberg area! Listed here are all of the specifics you’ll want if you happen to’re planning a visit to Vorarlberg.
- When to go to Vorarlberg: The very best time of the yr to go to Vorarlberg is between June and August, when the excessive temperatue is within the low 70s and there may be little rainfall, and the well-known Bregenzer Festspiele is going on on the lake. And since Vorarlberg isn’t a significant vacationer vacation spot like each different metropolis in Europe you’ve ever heard of, it’s quiet and never crowded in any respect. So subsequent time you’re reserving a summer season getaway to Vienna or Salzburg, hop a practice to Vorarlberg as a substitute to flee the crowds! The opposite greatest time to go to is throughout the Christmas Market season, in early December. You’ll find two Christmas markets in Bregenz, and one in Dornbirn and Feldkirch. Would possibly we recommend including Vorarlberg to your subsequent Christmas journey together with Vienna & Hallstatt?
- The best way to get to Vorarlberg: Whilst you might imagine Vienna can be the main metropolis to fly into to succeed in Vorarlberg, it’s actually on the other facet of the nation and eight hours away by practice. Nevertheless, Bregenz, Vorarlberg is simply 2 hours by practice from Zurich, Switzerland via lush, beautiful countryside! I like to recommend your practice choices on Rome2Rio.
- The place to remain in Vorarlberg: I break up my week in Vorarlberg between two resorts, one in Mellau and one in Dornbirn. In Mellau, I stayed within the glamorous and splendid Hotel Hubertus Mellau; whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the pretty boutique Hotel Katharinenhof COMFORT, positioned a few 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbin Market Sq.. I like to recommend both!
- Do I would like a automobile? You completely don’t want a automobile inside Vorarlberg! Bregenz, Dornbirn, and Feldkirch are all accessible by practice, and you may simply get between the three. The one outlier is Mellau, which is extra rural if you happen to’re on the lookout for countryside vibes. You possibly can take an hour bus experience from Bregenz, nonetheless, and might examine availability on Rome2Rio.
Mellau is a type of little cities that sits between rolling hills, the place cows roam in open fields and a river runs via the city giving it that excellent, pastoral centerpiece.
Within the first jiffy of arrival, you’re instantly overcome with a way of serenity – there isn’t a site visitors, no tall buildings, and barely any individuals – there are solely 1300 residents within the tiny city!
Whereas the city turns into busier within the winter for ski season and fills its 1500 resort beds (which means there are extra visiting skiiers than the precise inhabitants!), coming in the summertime means that you can decelerate, drink within the nature, and be taught that the individuals of Mellau favor high quality over amount of life.
Mellau’s declare to fame is the Umgang Bregenzerwald, or “Village Walks”, which takes you round 13 native villages the place you’ll be able to find out about native historical past and tradition. Mellau is a part of this route, and alongside the best way you peer right into a rust-colored metal column that lights up and provides you a reality a few explicit constructing, a pure function, or one thing particular concerning the space.
The trail takes you on a loop across the village, over their babbling river and previous rolling hills. Stops alongside the best way embrace Naze’s Hus, a restaurant which is a whole bunch of years outdated and has conventional Austrian shingles. What was as soon as a copper workshop belonging to a person named Naze, is now a standard Austrian restaurant the place you’ll be able to see outdated wooden beams and historic furnishings and eat conventional meals.
Käsespätzle is a specialty, which is produced from pasta, cheese, potatoes, and fried onions. Principally Austrian Mac n Cheese! I imply, how might that be dangerous? I most likely ate it 4 instances on my Austria journey and it was by no means not precisely what I wanted!
And although lots of its residents stay in farmhouses which have been transformed into residing areas for prolonged households, there may be loads of streamlined, fashionable structure dotting this historic village as effectively.
You’ll discover fashionable structure in locations like Temple 74, a glossy and classy award-winning condo complicated, that marries the normal small shingle facade with a minimal but luxurious inside.
And within the heart of city stands the Community Hall of Mellau, the place the Propel Convention came about. Gentle-colored spruce and floor-to-ceiling home windows make this area the proper place to attend a convention, the place you’re feeling directly sheltered and related with nature.
Whereas in Mellau, remember to try the Mellaubahn Cable Car, which takes you up into the rolling hills surrounding Mellau on a 6-minute scenic experience.
From the highest, you’ll be able to hike up the Kanisfluh massif, a crag-like mountain that’s a landmark within the Bregenz Forest, or just benefit from the views of Mellau beneath or seize a bit to eat or a beer at Restaurant Simma.
All-in-all, Mellau, very like the identify sounds, is a mellow and excellent place to unplug your mind and simply take pleasure in nature as it’s meant to be.
Nowhere to hurry right here, simply benefit from the greenery, the flowers, and feeling your ft tread alongside unspoiled wilderness.
For extra Mellau eye sweet, try Kirsten Alana’s photo post about Mellau!
Feldkirch is a phenomenal Medieval city that has been splendidly preserved, and strolling across the cobblestone streets actually takes you again to 1218 when it was first chartered (although it was talked about in writing early as 830!).
Although Feldkirch appears small, it’s the second-largest metropolis in Vorarlberg with 34,192 residents – but it surely doesn’t appear so populous strolling across the historic metropolis heart.
Strolling down town sq., you’ll be able to anticipate finding a flower market overflowing with sunflowers, dahlias, and birds of paradise, with an vintage water fountain and loads of buildings painted in pastels or with medieval themes. Markets have been held right here Tuesdays and Saturdays because the thirteenth century!
Right here, individuals sit at avenue cafes chatting, and the slower tempo of life appears simply as alive right here as in Mellau. Er, until there’s a spy mission afoot, anyway: this spot seems within the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace,” the place he drives down this same market square at night!
As soon as midday comes round, town streets fill with residents on their lunch break, and you may see what I’d name “Austrian babushkas” – grandmothers with scarves on their heads chatting in little teams. The day I used to be there they had been little question speaking about all of the unusual English-speaking journey bloggers, with cameras in hand posing for pictures in every scenic spot.
When visiting a Medieval city, it’s necessary to have a really educated tour information, and we had been fortunate to have Felkirch’s very personal Countess Mechthild present us round! Don’t know who Countess Mechthild is? I didn’t both! However I used to be excited to be assembly an actual Countess. And he or she was an actual countess… a minimum of, within the center ages.
The themed tour was led by a really educated actress in full costume posing because the medieval countess, guiding us down hidden alleyways and declaring historic landmarks.
We realized about Depend Hugo I, who established the city and constructed Schattenburg (Shadow Fortress) in 1265, which nonetheless stands right this moment and serves as a museum which you could tour digitally here (or in particular person, in case you are, you realize, there).
Although Feldkirch appears idyllic right this moment, it does have a gritty historical past. The final witch trial was held right here in 1649, the place the church discovered a lady named Martha Lochbüchlerin responsible of witchcraft after brutal torture and sentenced her to loss of life.
Fortunately for her, she died in jail earlier than the general public execution. In order that’s… cheery.
We additionally visited an enormous bell tower, constructed across the yr 500, which is without doubt one of the most recognizable icons of Feldkirch. Katzenturm, or “Cats Tower”, received its identify for as soon as housing cannons that includes the form of a cat, for some cause. As you’ll be able to think about, I used to be sorely dissatisfied that the tower wasn’t stuffed with precise cats.
Katzenturm additionally has one of many largest bells within the area weighing 8.5 tons, which chimes out at 3pm each Friday, which I’m certain both delights residents or scares the residing daylights out of them.
Not that Feldkirch is all beautiful market locations, rustic towers, and precise castles (although it truthfully largely is, not that I’m complaining).
Our convention classes in Feldkirch had been held on theMontforthaus Feldkirch, a kind of space-age convention heart that even received a sustainability award in 2017. I think about this has one thing to do with their gorgeous inexperienced roof that overlooks town, the place we had wine within the night after our tour.
Feldkirch is the proper place to discover if you happen to love outdated issues, actually outdated issues. And beautiful buildings, and historical past. Actually, simply come right here and inform me how a lot you find it irresistible, okay?
After the three days of conferencing about journey weblog stuff, we broke into post-tour journey teams to discover completely different components of Vorarlberg, and I headed off to see Bodensee.
Bregenz is the capital of Vorarlberg, and although it has a smaller inhabitants than Feldkirch, it feels barely extra metropolitan and city-like with greater markets, a bustling city-center, and barely greater buildings.
Not that it’s missing in appeal! Nooooo, Vorarlberg merely received’t stand for wherever that isn’t merely lovable.
Bregenz is most identified for its big lake which town stands on, which is known as the “soul of Europe”.
Bodensee, or Lake Constance because it’s referred to as in English, isa transparent blue, 207-square-mile lake that additionally borders Germany and Switzerland and offers consuming water for 5 million individuals. Nobody nation “owns” the lake, and it’s loved by residents on either side.
Lake Constance looks like the center of town, with a harbor, eating places, and lengthy promenades stretching alongside its banks. There’s even a little bit gazebo bar the place you may get a drink over the water!
Alongside the shore, you’ll be able to rent little electric or paddle boats and head out on the stunningly clear blue water to get a brand new perspective of town.
In the summertime, you’ll be able to deal with your self to milkshakes from a mushroom-shaped stand that basically “stands out” towards the shoreline (sorry for that horrible pun).
One among Bregenz’s largest claims to fame is their Bregenzer Festspiele, the place elaborate productions (typically Opera) are carried out on a floating stage with probably the most intense, large-scale units you’ve ever seen.
As an illustration, an enormous mechanical (terrifying) clown head that moved all through the manufacturing of Rigoletto, to three giant dragons and a crystal turtle for The Magic Flute, and even a giant, rotating eye for his or her manufacturing of Tosca (which can be seen within the 2008 James Bond film “Quantum of Solace”).
They are saying Vienna is the classical music capital of Europe, however frankly, Bregenz is bringing operatic drama and I’m right here for it.
The productions are completely extraordinary, and the units are so huge and costly the present runs July-August for 2 successive years.
Although the reveals are so elaborate, they nonetheless have cheap seats in the direction of the again so that everybody is ready to have entry to the humanities.
In case you are on the town throughout this time, YOU MUST GO, even when opera isn’t your factor! This can be a world-class expertise.
Outdated City Bregenz is a medieval city, established round 1250, and is simply as charming as Feldkirch with quaint cobblestone streets, colourful buildings, and many charming architectural options.
Alongside our self-guided walking tour, we strolled throughout an outdated medieval wall the place you possibly can see Deuring schlössle, which I used to be satisfied was a fort with an epic historical past. In actuality, some fabulously wealthy particular person on the finish of the fourteenth or early fifteenth century constructed it, after which a rich timber service provider named Johann Albert von Deuring purchased it in 1660 and expanded it, including its very iconic “onion cap” – the higher for trying down on the plebes in type, I suppose. It’s positively one of the crucial noticeable landmarks in outdated city, and positively provides a fairy story essence to town!
Some of the weirdly lovable issues we noticed was a water function exterior of theWeinstube Kinz Restaurant of a peeing man. We had been all like “What the hell is that?!“. Our pretty information Katja with Bodensee Vorarlberg Tourism thought our response was hysterical, and identified his pee puddle is definitely within the form of Lake Constance. I assume that’s what we name “Artwork“!
Facet notice: why are peeing statues a factor in Europe? There are THREE of them in Brussels. I discover this so weird. Am I only a prudish American!?
For one thing a little bit extra modern, try the Kunsthaus Bregenz, which is a up to date museum that permits one artist to take over your entire constructing and create their very own large-scale exhibit.
Previous artists have put in carpets of real grass and nature (together with bugs that received trapped within the constructing – for nature realness, I assume) and someone even flooded the place! You by no means know fairly what will likely be in retailer right here.
Sadly (or not), once I visited, the exhibit didn’t function bugs or flooding. I did see a music box-like mechanism that appeared like what I think about you’ll hear earlier than being murdered, an enormous projection of a person enjoying the violin with a snail riding back and forth on his bow, and a complete ground that was empty aside from what gave the impression to be quiet elevator music.
Did I believe I used to be dropping my thoughts? Undoubtedly. Was it artwork? Effectively, that’s what they inform me.
If empty rooms and snail violins aren’t your factor, you’re in luck as a result of the reveals change on a regular basis (and the exhibit is already completely different now). Undoubtedly a spot to go to for a wild expertise!
Dornbirn is simply north of Bregenz, and is definitely accessible by a ten-minute practice experience. It looks like an extension of Bregenz each due to its proximity and vibe. Each cities exist within the sprawling valley by the lake, and each have that medieval appeal I’ve come to anticipate from all over the place in Vorarlberg.
Whereas in Dornbirn I stayed within the pretty boutique Hotel Katharinenhof COMFORT, positioned a few 10 minutes’ stroll away from the Dornbirn Market Sq.. It’s such a comfy and fashionable resort – I want I might simply transfer right into a resort like they do in outdated motion pictures and simply keep in Austria without end!
The primary star of Dornbirn, as we have now realized is the case in so many Austrian cities, is the market square.
The historical past of the Dornbirn space started in 719 when the monastery of St. Gallen was based by Otmar von St. Gallen, and the “fashionable market sq.” started with the Red House, erected in 1639 by a husband and spouse for use as a residence, inn and dance venue.
The remainder of the market sq. sprung from this iconic constructing, and right this moment it’s a restaurant serving conventional Austrian meals, and an ice cream parlor!
Some of the thrilling issues to do in Dornbirn is to take the Karren Cable Car as much as the highest of Karren Mountain, the place you get sweeping views of Dornbirn and Bregenz on Lake Constance.
On the high, you’ll be able to stroll onto an overlook with a see-through metallic grate, providing you with a glimpse down 3,202 ft beneath (eek!).
Although this will not be for the faint of coronary heart, there are additionally loads of mountaineering trails and even a panoramic restaurant on the highest of the mountain.
Mountaineering Karren Mountain is a giant factor right here too, because it’s not terribly tall or very rugged. On the cable automobile station you’ll discover a machine the place you’ll be able to print out a ticket after which hike to the highest of Karren Mountain and see how shortly you are able to do it!
The overall journey is a 3.4-mile loop if you happen to’re feeling athletic – or simply take within the gorgeous views from the cable automobile!
Exploring Dornbirn is an efficient alternative to attempt some extra conventional Austrian meals, as a result of if you happen to’re something like me, your lust for cheese and wine won’t ever be satiated.
Gasthaus Gemsle has an virtually 100-year historical past in Dornbirn, and the comfy picket decor and hearty Austrian dishes replicate that.
Käsespätzle, a scrumptious cheese, potato, fried onion, and macaroni concoction, is a should eat whereas in Vorarlberg. And did I point out, käsespätzle often comes with a facet of apple sauce? I don’t know why, and our Austrian host principally simply mentioned “as a result of it does!”. I assume it’s to steadiness the richness of the cheese with a pop of sweetness. It offers it a little bit of a child-like vibe, such as you’re ordering off the child’s menu, solely it’s far more decedent and culinary than a field of Kraft mac n cheese.
Why Was I in Vorarlberg, Once more?
Lia was invited to talk on the second annual Propel Conference for journey bloggers! Then she received pregnant, and despatched me as a substitute, darn.
The Propel Conference consisted of a small and punctiliously chosen group of proficient journey bloggers, plus an unimaginable panel of educated, proficient audio system and veteran trade leaders…. and likewise Lia! Simply kidding, she was a distant speaker this yr and did an unimaginable job.
I used to be fortunate sufficient to satisfy many wonderful journey bloggers on the convention, all of which have particular areas of experience and skills. Although the journey media trade is fairly small, and the journey running a blog sector is even smaller, journey bloggers are at all times unfold out over the world on their very own adventures – and one thing actually magical occurs once you convey all of them collectively. Concepts are shared, connections are made, and the trade turns into much less about competitors and extra about up-lifting.
We spent 3 days studying, discussing, and working towards superior journey running a blog strategies. We received into some actually attractive stuff, like Search Engine Optimization and Lengthy-Time period Model Partnerships and Passive Earnings Methods – that final one was Lia’s speak.
Oh, by the best way~ if you happen to’re questioning how on earth journey blogs generate income, we’ve received a complete guide to travel blog monetization!
For extra skilled journey blogger insights, learn 25 Things No One Tells You About Being a Full Time Travel Blogger or simply browse all of our blogging posts.
Extra Vorarlberg Sources & Journey Guides
Contemplating a visit to Vorarlberg now that you simply’ve seen how completely gorgeous it’s? Or simply cravingkäsespätzle? There are a bunch of implausible weblog posts printed by the individuals within the Propel Journey Convention! Listed here are a few of my favourite sources that can make it easier to plan a visit to Graz.
Able to pack your baggage and take off on a visit to Vorarlberg? Had you ever heard of Vorarlberg earlier than? Did our pictures make you wish to go to? Drop us a remark beneath!
Psst: Planning a go to to Austria? Try a few of our different posts that will help you plan your journey!
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Disclaimer: We had been invited to go to Vorarlberg by the Propel Convention, and our whole journey was organized & hosted by Go to Vorarlberg. We’re deeply grateful to them, in addition to the numerous native companies who helped assist us throughout our go to! As at all times, all opinions, dangerous jokes, and implications thatkäsespätzle is Austria’s solely meals are 100% my very own and completely not their fault.